LOS ANGELES - The New Mexico State baseball team fought back but dropped a heart breaking 9-8 loss to University of Southern California in 11 innings at Dedeaux Field in Los Angeles, California, Tuesday, May 19.
With the game tied at 8-8 in the 11th inning, the Trojans leading hitter Ricky Orpesa hit a walk-off home run to secure the win. The Aggies fall to 36-20-1 on the season and USC took its record to 24-28. Starting pitcher Justin Cooper worked five complete innings giving up seven runs, four of them earned, but was given a no-decision. The Aggies struggled in the bottom of the sixth tallying three errors with no outs while five runs crossed the plate.
"Our guys got through an embarrassing inning and kept working hard to stay in the game and for that I am proud of the team," head coach Rocky Ward said. "Cooper had a solid showing and if it wasn't for that crazy inning he probably would have gotten the win."
Senior Jared Jordan was given the loss going to 2-2 in 16 appearances, while Shuhei Fujiya earned the win for USC as he was in the game when the Trojans won the game.
Senior Nate Shaver started the game with a lead off double to left-centerfield and scored when junior Ryan Aguayo singled up the middle for the first of his team-high three RBI on the day.
After USC scored two runs, the Aggies posted a 6-4-3 double play to get out of the first inning. NM State regained the lead after an RBI single from junior Wes Starkes. He brought in freshman second baseman Parker Hipp, who got on base with a one-out double. Hipp finished the day going 3-of-6 at the plate with two RBI and two runs scored. Aguayo hit a bloop single to right centerfield to put the Aggies up 3-2.
The Trojans tied the game 3-3 in the bottom of the fourth off a sacrifice fly and pulled ahead 8-3 in the sixth inning after three costly errors. The Aggies could have called it quits but posted five runs of their own in the top of the seventh. The first run came in when the bases were loaded and junior Chace Perkins was hit by a pitch. Another single to centerfield by Hipp made the score 8-6 in favor of USC, before freshman Zac Fisher tallied his second sacrifice fly of the year to bring his team to within one. With the bases loaded Aguayo showed patience and picked up a walk bringing in Hipp and tying the game at eight a piece.
NM State had a chance to take the lead in the top of the ninth after Hipp and Fisher singled. They were put into scoring position on a sac bunt by Starkes and Shaver was then put on with an intentional walk, but a double play would end the inning. USC held off the Aggies for two more innings before hitting a walk-off homer to win the game.
The Aggies wrap up the regular season at Dedeaux Field with the game time moved up to 5:00 p.m. (MT) from the original 8:15 p.m. (MT) start. Live stats will be available at www.NMStateSports.com.